IMDb > "Columbo" Murder by the Book (1971)
"Columbo: Murder by the Book (#1.1)"
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"Columbo" Murder by the Book (1971)

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Columbo: Seasons 1 - 7: Season 1: Episode 1 -- US Home Video Trailer from Universal TV

Overview

User Rating:
7.6/10   1,964 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Steven Bochco (written by)
Richard Levinson (created by) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Murder by the Book on IMDbPro.
TV Series:
Original Air Date:
15 September 1971 (Season 1, Episode 1)
Genre:
Plot:
When one member of a mystery writing team wants to break from his less talented partner, he becomes the victim in a real-life murder mystery. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
NewsDesk:
(4 articles)
Falk's Daughter Makes Her Case For Conservatorship In Court
 (From WENN. 28 May 2009, 12:15 PM, PDT)

Bullitt And Knight Rider's Autos Rev Up On Top Car List
 (From WENN. 4 February 2009, 11:45 PM, PST)

Hotel Builder Sues Sinatra + Falk
 (From WENN. 13 August 2008, 8:58 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Did Steven Spielberg ever get better than this? See more (27 total) »

Cast

 (Episode Cast) (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Peter Falk ... Columbo

Jack Cassidy ... Ken Franklin

Rosemary Forsyth ... Joanna Ferris

Martin Milner ... Jim Ferris
Barbara Colby ... Lilly La Sanka
Lynette Mettey ... Gloria (as Lynnette Mettey)
Bernie Kuby ... Mike Tucker

Hoke Howell ... Sergeant

Marcia Wallace ... Woman (credit only)
Haven Earle Haley ... 2nd Reporter
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Frank Baker ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
Anitra Ford ... Woman at Theater (uncredited)
Bobby Gilbert ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
Leoda Richards ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
Mark Russell ... Police Sgt. (uncredited)
Jeffrey Sayre ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Steven Spielberg 
 
Writing credits
Steven Bochco (written by)

Richard Levinson (created by) &
William Link (created by)

Produced by
Richard Levinson .... producer
William Link .... producer
Robert F. O'Neill .... associate producer
 
Original Music by
Billy Goldenberg 
 
Cinematography by
Russell Metty (director of photography) (as Russell L. Metty)
 
Film Editing by
John Kaufman  (as John Kaufman Jr.)
 
Art Direction by
Archie J. Bacon  (as Arch Bacon)
 
Set Decoration by
Richard Friedman 
 
Production Management
Henry Kline .... unit manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ralph Ferrin .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
David H. Moriarty .... sound
 
Stunts
Hubie Kerns Jr. .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Burton Miller .... costumes
 
Editorial Department
Richard Belding .... editorial supervisor
Steve Johnson .... colorist (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Henry Mancini .... composer: theme
James D. Young .... music editor (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Steven Bochco .... story editor
Attila De Lado .... main title design (as Attila de Lado)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
76 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Australia:PG (video rating) | Denmark:11 (2004) | Finland:K-7 (2004) | Norway:15 (2004) | Sweden:15 (2004) | UK:PG (video rating) (2000)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
In an interview with film critic Judith Crist, Steven Spielberg revealed that, through his directorial efforts on this TV pilot, he went on to land the same role on Duel (1971) (TV).See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: Lilly La Sanka dips strawberries in sugar and eats them, while talking to Ken Franklin. In a shot looking toward Franklin, we see that Lilly is holding an entire strawberry, still coated with sugar at the tip. A moment later (and also in the previous shot), before she can take a bite, we see that Lilly's strawberry is half-devoured.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
[Jim works in his office]
Jim Ferris:[knock on the door] Who is it?
[another knock on the door]
Jim Ferris:[He opens the door - Ken is aiming a gun at his face. Jim laughs]
Ken Franklin:Oh, you're not intimidated.
Jim Ferris:Oh, come on, Ken. You're forgetting that I'm one-half of the world's greatest mystery-writing team? You, ah, don't have gloves on, your finger's not on the trigger, and there are no bullets in the cylinder.
Ken Franklin:[smiling] You're right. I'm a lousy practical joker.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Spielberg on Spielberg (2007) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
Love Theme from 'Red Sky At Morning'See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
7 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
Did Steven Spielberg ever get better than this?, 27 June 2006
Author: Cheyenne-Bodie

Steven Spielberg (at 24) had already directed two superb episodes of a 1971 series called "The Psychiatrist", starring Roy Thinnes. One episode had been about an emotionally troubled 12-year old boy and the other was about a vibrant young man (Clu Gulager in his best performance) who is dying of cancer. Both episodes were stunning, visually unlike anything else on TV, and emotionally complex and adult. The creators of "The Psychiatrist" were Richard Levinson and William Link, who created "Columbo" and also produced its first season.

Peter Falk insisted on first rank, experienced TV directors for the first season of "Columbo", like Bernard Kowalski and Jack Smight. But Falk agreed to Spielberg after watching part of the Clu Gulagher episode of "The Psychiatrist".

Spielberg says on the DVD of "Duel" that he loved Steven Bochco's "Murder by the Book" script (based on a Levinson/Link story), and he tried to make the production look like a million dollar feature, even thought he had a lot less money to work with.

This episode of "Columbo" is far more visually stylish and makes better use of the sound track and background music than almost any other "Columbo" episode, even though the series always used top directors. Spielberg manages to keep the great Falk and Cassidy from hamming it up too much, but both actors are still a lot of fun. Spielberg also gets fine supporting work from Martin Milner, Rosemary Forsyth and Barbara Colby. All the performances have a freshness and vitality about them. The only "Columbo" episode that was close to being as well directed is the "By Dawn's Early Light" episode with Patrick McGoohan (directed by Harvey Hart).

I think the two episodes of "The Psychiatrist" and this episode of "Columbo" suggest Spielberg hasn't developed technically all that much as a director. He was great from the beginning. In a "Combat!" DVD commentary of a 1962 episode guest starring Albert Salmi, Robert Altman says that episode was pretty much as good as he ever got as a director. Maybe the same is true of Spielberg.

Was the above review useful to you?
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